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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

20 June 2007

20/06/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #63

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 20/06/2007Advanced

I decided that it makes most sense for me to try and get to as many advanced classes as I can, meaning that I can see if I’ve got any energy left for late beginners classes. On Wednesdays the advanced class is late, so I didn’t go to the beginners, saving my limited fitness for the following session.

Tonight it was all about half guard sweeps. I’m not sure I quite understood the first variation, so I might be remembering a second variation. You begin with them on top, with your half-guard locked in (like you’ve got a triangle on their leg, basically). First thing is to get an underhook, shrimp out, then reach behind their gi and slip down to their leg. Grab hold of their ankle, pulling that close to their bum, then switch hands and hold their toes instead. You then bring your leg over and rise up, grab their knee with your free hand, aiming to get your own knee free. Finally, roll them over, bringing your leg swiftly round into side control.

The second variation seemed a little easier to comprehend. This requires a different set-up, as while it begins with the same underhook and shrimp, you also need to get hold of their leg. So, if they step forward, you can wrap up their lower leg, gripping your opposite collar to lock it in. You then secure their arm into your side. Shrimp and come up on your elbow, then roll into side control as before.

‘King of the hill’ sparring was therefore from half-guard: having just started the advanced class, I’m still at the stage where I’m concentrating on what my far more experienced partner is doing, looking out for tips. Andy suggested that the most important concern was to get an underhook, then drive my shoulder into their face. Christina also reminded me of a half-guard escape I thought Maurição (looking at my blog, turns out it was Jude) showed me a while back, where you try to push their leg off with one of yours. In combination, those tips were very useful, as it gave me something to work towards.

Free sparring is something I need to get used to, not only in terms of the sparring but also the etiquette. The last two classes, I’ve been waiting for people to ask me, which isn’t a great idea: what I should be doing is getting to know people in class better and ask them. As it was, I had a fairly relaxed end of class, as I only sparred twice. First I went against Anne, which gave me a chance to try some passing. I keep relying on the tailbone guard break and leg pin pass, so while I’m glad I’m having some success with them, I need to be careful I don’t limit myself. Hence I’m also trying to go for a stack pass, but in addition I should be trying passes under the leg too.

I felt happier about side control, and I also got a chance to try and transition through knee on belly into mount. However, I need to be careful not to get trapped in half-guard when doing that: I wasn’t making sufficient space in side control to move smoothly into mount, so will have to keep that in mind.

When I did find myself underneath Anne in half-guard, I tried to use the sweeps we’d just gone through. Wasn’t too successful, mainly because I had trouble slipping down towards her leg and getting a grip on her foot. I think I ended up just sloppily pushing away and trying to sweep: need to focus on technique from half-guard.

I did manage to get into mount a few times, but kept ending up going for an Americana underneath Anne’s head, which is stupid as I can’t get the leverage that way. I have to remember to bring my elbow to the other side of my partner’s head before going for the technique.

Next roll was with Connor, who treated it very much as a lesson, which is cool with me. Gave me some useful hints, firstly on my grips when trying a standing pass. Previously, I’ve been holding onto the gi jacket, but Connor demonstrated how that leaves me vulnerable for a triangle. Better option is to work my grip back to the gi trousers and stand right up, meaning that my partner can’t get sufficient purchase to pull me down.

Tomorrow will be my first no-gi class, so that should be fun. Hopefully won’t look too much of a poser in my rash guard – its not Tapout or something after all. Also of interest is that RGA is adding a bunch of new classes after 6th July – on Tuesday, there is going to be advanced gi from 18:30-19:30, then beginners, for the next hour, and finally advanced no-gi from 20:30-21:30. On Friday, new beginners class from 18:30-19:30 followed by advanced gi from 19:30-21:00. I could got to the beginners before my 20:00 train to Birmingham, but I’m mainly interested in the new Tuesday classes for when I’m out of term-time. On Fridays, I’m hoping to get in some extra writing done at the Poetry Library, along with a bit of creative writing. Always difficult to motivate yourself into writing, so getting into a routine with limited distraction is ideal.

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